From The Editors Desk

16th September 2017

New Edit

 

Hello and Welcome to this week edition

 

Many of the letters we receive here at Fuertenews are regarding the health system on the island. 

Obviously, this is of concern especially for those wanting to move out here permanently. Over the 14 years I have been here things have changed considerably. It was easy to become a resident and then apply for health care. Not quite so easy now. One either has to prove a regular income and/or have a certain amount of money , around 6000€ to put into a bank account before registering with a Dr. It is also necessary to cancel health care with the correct authorities in ones own country. 

Emergency care is always available at the moment with a European health card at the many health centres around resorts. Very often these centres have limited English speaking doctors. Private Drs are always available, usually English speaking. However prescriptions from these will cost far more than one usually pays.

Remember also there are no old folks care homes on the island as the Spanish look after their own families. Something that really has to be considered if looking to a future here. 

Always advisable to check with www.ukinspain.fco.gov.uk  for further information.

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 But what does this really means for UK mobile phone users?

Roaming charges within the European Union have officially been abolished from yesterday, meaning that British mobile phone users can make phone calls, send text messages and use data in other EU countries without extra charges.

 

 

The end of heavy holiday bills comes after EU regulators agreed in 2015 to force operators to offer the same service to phone users throughout the EU.

However, many users may still be hit by unexpected bills, with operators providing different levels of geographic coverage and “fair use” policies meaning those using high amounts of data may be charged extra.

Mobile phone calls and text messages can now be sent as they would back home, with no extra charges. If texts and calls are included in your pay monthly or pay as you go plan, it’s the same charge for doing so abroad as doing it back home.

Consumers can also call and text to someone back in the UK just they would when at home, without any extra charges.

Cross-border texts and calls also carry costs, so a call to France or Italy from the UK isn’t free, even if using your mobile over there is.

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Data is where it gets a little bit complicated. Data is ostensibly the same as back home – mobile phone owners can browse the web, use WhatsApp and stream YouTube within their allowances or at the same pay as you go price, although their signal quality will depend on the local network and some operators have been accused of throttling networks abroad.

However, mobile phone companies are allowed to impose “fair use” policies which means that monthly data allowances are not quite the same as when using mobile internet in the UK. Each of the four UK operators have different allowances.

EE: EU data is capped at 15GB per month. So if your allowance is less than that, you’ll pay for extra data as usual. If it is more, users will have to purchase an add-on.

Vodafone: Vodafone’s terms and conditions do not define a data cap.

O2: There is no data cap for pay monthly or business customers, and most pay as you go customers. Those pay as you go customers who have bought the £30 Big Bundle – which includes 20GB of data – will have their roaming data capped at 10GB. After that you’ll have to buy a bolt-on.

Three: Pay monthly users have a 12GB limit and pay as you go users is now 9GB, so even if your domestic allowance is above that, your data might be suspended.

Each operator also has restrictions on certain uses of data, such as tethering a laptop to your phone.

You also can’t use your mobile abroad for as long as you want. The main operators have time limits on how long you can use your phone abroad.

EE: EE’s terms and conditions say users cannot roam on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. What this means in practice is you need to spend at least 60 days in a 120 day period in the UK.

Vodafone: Roaming privileges will be suspended if someone spends more than 30 consecutive days roaming abroad.

O2: Using roaming services for 60 days or more in any four month period is deemed an unfair use of services and can lead to services being suspended.

Three: Using roaming for 2 months in a rolling 12 month period is deemed in excess of fair use and can lead to roaming being suspended.

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It gets really complicated when you look at which networks let you roam where. EU roaming rules cover the 28 countries in the EU.

Those countries are: Austria, Azores ,Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar (UK), Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Poland, Portugal, Reunion Islands, Romania, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin (French), San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and Vatican City.

But some operators are covering countries in the European Economic Area, such as Norway. Here’s a breakdown by each operator. Some have other plans that extend roaming to countries outside of Europe. Three, for example, allows roaming in the US and Australia while some EE plans also include roaming in more far flung places.

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